On May 19th to May 22nd, our team travelled to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to co-host the Men's Depression and Suicide Network Gala: "Spaces & Places for Men" Community Approaches to Supporting Men's Wellness" with the Men's Sheds at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Close to 75 were in attendance, these people are local politicians, community workers, researchers and members of the community. Our Dudes Elder, Henry, got the special honour of opening the Gala along with Lionel Houston, a highly-respected Anishinaabe elder, and Damon Johnston, President of the Aboriginal Counsel of Winnipeg. Lionel shared with us a valuable cultural insight of becoming a man and women being our backbone (see video below).
The purpose of the gala was to not only promote the Dudes club and the Men's Shed to the general public but also to start a conversation about a possible collaboration to provide a men's health initiative program for the Indigenous men of Winnipeg. There are a limited number of Men's health programs across Canada, and a First Nation focused men's health program are even more scarce. According to Census Canada, Winnipeg has the largest community of First Nations living in a central metropolitan area and also the highest total number of Aboriginals living off reserve in Canada. This highlighted the importance of this opportunity to showcase the Dudes Club, considering its dedicated focus on Indigenous men.
We like to thank the UBC Men's Depression and Suicide Network and Movember Canada for inviting us to Winnipeg to share the success story of our Dudes Club. Also special thanks to Damon Johnston of the Aboriginal Counsel for giving us sweet grass, which we will take back to Vancouver and share with our Dudes.